“I support Amnesty International and the Conference of Catholic Bishops, on both sides of the border, in their efforts to help Din Ahmed find safe haven in Canada.”
– Actor/Activist Martin Sheen
Extradition, regulated by treaties, is an official process in which a State (or nation) requests the surrender of a person suspected or convicted of a crime in the requesting country, from another State.
According to international law, a State has no obligation to surrender an alleged criminal to a foreign State, because one of the principles of sovereignty is that every State has legal authority over the people within its borders. In order to maintain law and order throughout the world and make it difficult for criminals to simply move to other countries, States sign extradition treaties with many other States.
The United States does not have an extradition treaty with all other States in the world, including some States with which it has diplomatic relations.
Although two States may have an extradition treaty, it may not cover all crimes. There are two types of extradition treaties: list and dual criminality treaties. The list treaty contains a list of crimes for which a suspect will be extradited. Dual criminality treaties, used since the 1980s, generally allow for extradition of a criminal suspect if the punishment is more than one-year imprisonment in both countries. If the conduct is not a crime in either country then it will not be an extraditable offense.
Extradition treaties generally require the requesting State to show:
The crime is sufficiently serious. A prima facie case exists against the individual sought. The conduct qualifies as a crime in both countries. The extradited person can reasonably expect a fair trial. The likely penalty will be proportionate to the crime.
Most countries deny extradition requests if, in the government’s opinion, the suspect is sought for a political crime. Many countries, including Mexico, Canada and most European nations, will not allow extradition if the death penalty may be imposed on the suspect unless they are assured that the death sentence will not subsequently be passed or carried out. Parties to the European Convention cannot extradite persons where they would be at significant risk of being tortured or inhumanely or degradingly treated or punished.
Enter the case of Mohiuddin Din Ahmed, a Bangladeshi national, one-time army officer, as well as a representative in the Bangladesh Diplomatic corps and, according to his own account, innocent of the crime of which he was convicted in absentia.
Ahmed is currently being held in San Pedro prison, California
The U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Bangladesh, but is preparing to extradite Din Ahmed to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is governed by an army-backed interim administration that took power in January, imposed a state of emergency, and called off elections scheduled for later that month.
Bangladesh is currently holding a UN Human Rights Council investigator of human trafficking on political grounds. The UN General Assembly is soon to consider removing Bangladesh as a member of the UN, if it does not release the investigator.
There are several troubling issues in this case:
There are obvious signs of political motivation There are obvious signs that revenge is involved The original trial was not fair An army witness was not even a member of the army at the time The US has no obligation to extradite Ahmed The Prime Minister of Bangladesh acts like a dictator There is no extradition agreement with Bangladesh Democracy has been suspended in Bangladesh
Research for this story included reference to Wikipedia